Renewal of license to carry passengers in London has been denied to the ride sharing company Uber. This is the second time in two years that such as step has been taken by the London transport authorities. The cancellation is pending an appeal over a “pattern of failures” on safety and security.
While making the announcement, the regulator Transport for London (TfL) said that the company allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to others’ accounts, so much so that passengers were picked up by someone other than the advertised driver on over 14,000 trips.
As soon as it was made, Uber said that it would appeal the decision. It is likely that a court case will result out of the process of appeal which could continue for months and till then the about 45000 drivers of Uber in London, one of the company’s most important markets, will be able to keep taking the rides even without the company being reissued the license to do so as it expired on Monday.
It had “identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk”, TfL said, and added that some of the journeys did not have insurance. “TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future, which has led it to conclude that the company is not fit and proper at this time.”
Uber expressed confidence in its robust systems while also announcing that a new facial matching process will be introduced soon. The ride hailing app from Uber has been a market disrupting one as conventional transport operators in many parts of the world including the “black cabs” of London have seen their business disrupted.
“Over the last two years we have fundamentally changed how we operate in London,” tweeted CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who was appointed to the present role just weeks before Uber was denied renewal of its license in London on the earlier occasion. “We have come very far — and we will keep going, for the millions of drivers and riders who rely on us.”
There have been regulatory troubles and barriers as well as a backlash in several markets for Uber which has forced it to completely move out of some markets such as Copenhagen and Hungary.
In London, streets have been blocked in protest by black cab drivers who see Uber’s services as a direct threat to their hard-won livelihoods. They have argued that the inferior service of Uber had unfairly undercut their profits.
One of the stringent rules that these black cab drivers have to pass through before becoming one is to memorize the thousands of streets and landmarks within a six-mile radius of central London. They additionally, also have to pass the sop called ‘The Knowledge’ before they are given a license to start carrying people on the streets of London. there are about 22000 such black cab drivers in London.
(Adapted from Ruters.com)